Fall is here and it’s ‘trib time’

9 26 Tribs

Timing is everything. Fall has officially arrived on the calendar.  Like clockwork this year, the weather change went hand-in-hand with the calendar in Western New York. It brought with it rain and cooler temperatures, giving the Great Lakes tributaries, as well as inland streams, a welcome transformation. It’s time for tributaries fishing off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario!

“With temperatures in the 50s expected, a good rain day or two will get things going,” insists guide Nicholas Sagnibene with 716 Fly Fishing. “Cattaraugus Creek has been on the warmer side, hovering around 65-70 degrees. It’s been slow fishing, but a few have been getting picked up on the Cattaraugus Reservation. The lower end will see the first push of fish once those temperatures decline. If the clarity comes around, try fishing the heads of the pools, right where the riffle enters. Early season steelhead tend to sit in the faster water, waiting for their next opportunity to move up the streams. They are energy packed and healthy from the summer in the lake. We may see some fish make it to Gowanda by the end of next week, flow-depending.”

“Eighteen Mile Creek (Erie County) and the other small tributaries have very few fish as of now,” says Sagnibene. “I can guarantee once those water levels come up, we will see pods of fish making their way through the lower ends of the creeks. Some adults and jack steelhead should make their way up a majority of the main stem by the end of next week.”

This is an exciting time of year for the stream angler. Many have waited all summer for the lake run fishing to begin. For Sagnibene, it is his time to do some serious fly fishing. This is what he recommends getting started:

“A desired fly rod for the lake run fishing would be a 10-foot, 7 weight rod matched with a 7/8 weight fly line. Make sure you have some white and black streamers patterns, like a bunny leech or wooly buggers, and they will get the aggressive fish to eat. If you’d like to nymph, egg patterns and standard nymphs in the feeding lanes will catch those not-so-eager fish.”

Of course, hooking up with a local guide in an area that you want to fish will also help things along. Sagnibene can be reached at 716-713-3772 or at www.flyfishingthe716.com. Another step in the right direction is to join a local fishing club. Two of the best in this area for stream education are the WNY Chapter of Trout Unlimited (https://www.wnytroutunlimited.org) and the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International (https://www.lake-erie-fff.org ). Both offer some type of fishing education at their meetings, normally held monthly.

In WNY, you must consider the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries for angling options, too. We have started to see the salmon trickle in. “Flows and temperatures once again are still not ideal to get those Salmon pushing in heavy,” says Sagnibene. “Lake run browns, steelhead and salmon are all staging outside the Lake Ontario tributary river mouths right now.”

If you’re looking to do some inland trout fishing, once water levels begin to rise and cooler water temperatures stick around, the large and mature brown trout will begin their pre-spawn feeding. Some of Sagnibene’s favorite fishing occurs in high, off colored water in the fall.

“Main tributaries like the upper Cattaraugus or Elton creek become prime targets for fish moving throughout their systems,” says Sagnibene. “Streamer fishing can be unbelievable during the right conditions. Those big browns are aggressive and feisty, and a well-placed streamer will get their attention for sure.”

Fall fishing action is here. Get out there and take advantage of some of the most exciting fishing this part of the state has to offer.

Categories: Blog Content, New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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